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Thoughts on Our Bike-Friendly City

In my work at Bicycle Collective, I’ve met fellow bicycle advocates throughout the state and heard their experiences biking in their respective cities.

Just in the past month I’ve heard horror stories from a friend in Ogden about having glass bottles thrown at her from a vehicle whizzing past.  I’ve heard from dozens of mountain biking enthusiasts in the Salt Lake area who have had their $3,000+ bikes stolen from their garages.

No, Provo is not immune to these sorts of problems; it has its fair share, but I’d like to offer a positive outlook from personal experience.  Though we have much to improve, Provo is a bike-friendly city.

I’ve bike commuted since 2012 and have seen the worst of it; cyclists speeding toward me head-on riding the wrong way in the bike lane, inattentive drivers swerving into my travel area, and that guy in the lifted pickup who laughs as he drives past you, rolling coal all the way.  We’ve all had one too many encounter with that guy.

But while completing my annual post-finals century ride around Utah Lake last week, I was more than pleasantly surprise to not have even one negative encounter with a motorist.  Keep in mind this includes suburban sprawl like Eagle Mountain and tiny farming towns like Elberta, typically seen as bicycle un-friendly.

While riding, I reflected on my past two years of bike commuting in Provo and tried to recall any sour memories, but I couldn’t!  In fact, since returning from my mission in 2015, I haven’t had a single negative experience with a motorist that was caused intentionally.

Some may think it’s just luck, but I believe that our presence, as normal people who choose to transport ourselves bike, is noticed and respected.  Thanks to the incredible support from local agencies like Provo City, Provo Bicycle Committee, and my fellow staff and all our 400+ volunteers at Provo Bicycle Collective who jointly push for bike safety and even dedicate a whole month to celebrating cycling, biking to and fro has never been safer or more fun.

Take a ride around the city today and realize what a great place we live in.  Yes, Provo has shortcomings to overcome before becoming a model city, but it is a bicycle-friendly city and becoming more so each day.

 

Austin Taylor

Residents Love Provo’s First Bicycle-Friendly Intersection

As the final touches of landscaping and paint our applied along 300 South the past few weeks, Provo’s first bicycle-friendly intersection at 200 East/300 South is getting rave reviews. Here is one from from Tony Dittmer of the Maeser Neighborhood, who lives just north of 300 South:

“I work up in Lehi and take the FrontRunner when I bike to work. In the past crossing 300 South has been such a pain. Recently UDOT installed a new bicycle signal at 300 South and 200 East. I love this intersection. I have often looked for paths that were less busy for biking. I prefer not to ride close to heavy traffic. In the past I would have to ride on the shoulder or University Avenue until I passed 300 South, but now thanks to this signal I have a very mellow commute home.

Photos courtesy of Karen Tapahe

200 East has very light traffic and there are signs when you get to the intersection to take the lane. When approaching the intersection you pull into two curbs in the middle of the intersection where there is a friendly sensor and bicycle traffic signal and you don’t have to wait long before it changes and let’s you go right through and across 300 South. Crossing 300 South used to so dangerous, but not now thanks to this signal. The new bike lanes along around 300 South are also very welcome. I love Provo and the steps we are taking to make it better.”

Utah County Health Department Adds New Covered Bike Racks

The Utah County Health Department now has covered bike racks!! The bike racks were donated by Utah Transit Authority (UTA). They are being used by department employees and visitors to the county offices.

When Melissa Porter, a department health educator and member of the Provo Bicycle Committee, noticed the current bike racks were only available outside, with nothing protecting them from rain, snow and ice, she began her quest to install bike racks in the parking garage located east of the Health Department building.

Melissa worked with Brady Christensen, Building and Grounds Division Manager, to identify a location and to install the bike racks. She also designed wayfinding signs. Melissa said, “Signs are key to letting people know you have bike racks available. We hope this will encourage employees to bike to work.”

The bike racks are being promoted through the employee email system, the county newsletter, and through their Facebook page.

On February 23 , 2017, Melissa and her co-workers had a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the racks for use. “It was a lot of fun using the big scissors,” Melissa exclaimed.


Great work, Melissa!

Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award (Courtesy of Canyon Bicycles)

Austin Taylor
Provo Bicycle Committee

For the past six years, Provo Bicycle Committee has been recognizing outstanding bicycle commuters for their contributions to Provo by awarding the Golden Spoke Award. We believe in cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation that can help create a cleaner, healthier, and safer society.

Two years ago, we began recognizing winter bicycle commuters with the help of Canyon Bicycles, the sponsor of the winter award.

After a nomination and unanimous approval from the Provo Bicycle Committee, Josh Gubler has been chosen as the winner of the 2017 Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award.

Josh and his two daughters ready to embark to work and school, respectively. December 2016

One afternoon in January, while riding around town, I spotted Josh riding his bike home from work. It was probably the coldest day of the year and Josh was decked out in a full ski mask and lobster mitt gloves. Not even the snow and freezing temperatures stopped him from biking!

Since December 3, 2015, Josh has commuted by bicycle to work, often dropping his kids off at school, also on their bikes. In his nearly 15 months of bicycle commuting, Josh has saved over 1.5 tons of C02 emissions that he would have created by driving and likely burned over 90,000 calories.

After I presented the award to Josh during a city council meeting in February 2017, he told the council he started biking to save money but has found that it offers him time to relax and see the city. He encouraged citizens to help make the city a friendlier place by choosing to bike instead of drive. Doing so, he said, would reduce pollution and increase a sense of community within our neighborhoods.

The Provo Bicycle Committee would like to congratulate Josh on winning this award and showing all of us that it’s still possible –and fun–to bicycle commute during winter.